Tonight several of the participants in the IBO Language A workshop that I attended in China met together online in a skype conference (Language A is the best language of the students and is often the language of instruction, so in my case English). So there was Tony from Adelaide, Paul from Osaka, Japan, Sheila and her colleague Jeff from Hong Kong, and Jacqui and me from Melbourne. We spent an hour chatting about various aspects of teaching and assessing Language A, texts to help students gain intercultural awareness, approaches like Elsie Belger’s education for human rights resources, how to arrange things so that there is enough meeting time for shared planning and ideas for interdisciplinary study. It is a helpful way to extend the conference, since as I mentioned before there wasn’t much reflection time in the busy schedule of the workshop and these subsequent meetings can give us that.
A most interesting idea that I came away with from the workshop was the idea of the Learner Profile (click here to see a short video on this concept.) The attributes and descriptors of the learner profile define the type of learner the IBO hopes to develop through its programs. It is concerned with the education of the whole person, emphasizing intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge and can be summarized in just ten words. People who are: inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers , communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. We talked about ways to work towards this, which would mean ways to change the thinking of teachers in some cases. We talked a bit about this tonight as well and I look forward to learning more about it and enacting it in my school.